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Video Games Affect the Brain

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We hear conflicting reports about how video games affect our brains. One study will suggest that video games help us learn; another might imply that they make young people more aggressive. Douglas A. Gentile argues that how games influence our brains is not an either-or proposition; games can have both positive and negative consequences, and which of these researchers find depends on what they are testing. Gentile proposes that researchers focus their investigations on five attributes of video game design to tease out these disparate effects.

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Video gamers, parents, politicians and the press often lionize or attack video games, which opens the door to spin that obfuscates our understanding of how these games affect people. For example, the European Parliament has been debating whether to limit children’s access to video games. In a press statement about the report that resulted from its deliberations, the parliament concluded that games could have “harmful effects on the minds of children. Reporting on this statement, however, the headline in the Guardianread, “Video games are good for children.

” Psychologists and neuroscientists conducting well-designed studies are beginning to shed light on the actual effects of video games. These studies show a clear trend: Games have many consequences in the brain, and most are not obvious—they happen at a level that overt behaviors do not immediately reflect. Because the effects are subtle, many people think video games are simply benign entertainment.

Research projects of variable strength have substantiated claims of both beneficial and harmful effects. Too often the discussion ends there in a “good” versus “evil” battle, reminiscent of the plots of the violent video games themselves. ( Douglas A. Gentile, July 23, 2009)( http://www. dana. org/news/cerebrum/detail. aspx? id=22800) Edutainment: Positive Aspects of Video Gaming The new generation of children has been named the game generation. This game generation is accustomed to a high speed, parallel processing, active, fantasy world.

Games have changed the learners’ cognitive skills so that the game generation can process a lot of information at the same time. Video games are an excellent learning tool because the computer can adjust its difficulty according to the player’s preference or need. Video games also teach deductive reasoning, memory strategies, and eye-hand coordination. Working together with software companies, parents, and educators, video games can facilitate children learning the required content for their level as well as make learning fun and applicable to the game generation children.

As a result, educators must be willing to learn how to use educational games as a part of constructivist learning in education. ( Russell A. Sabella)( http://www. education. com/reference/article/positive-video-game-benefits-educational/) Educational Games – The Benefits of Using Online Games in the Learning Process It is not a secret that online computer games, apart from bringing fun and effectively consuming your time, can also be used for educational purposes. Over the past decades, they have become very popular with teachers, parents and, of course, kids.

In fact, they have even acquired quite a stable position in the educational system, they have even penetrated into the K-12 classroom, and now help students learn digital technologies and computer while mastering their skills and knowledge of academic subjects (such as maths, languages, painting, physics, the basics of management and economics,etc. ) So, what are the benefits of using online games in the learning process? Playing computer games is an activity that provides the kids with an opportunity to develop their skills while have fun.

Moreover, games can be used by teachers and parents for the evaluation of the kids’ skills and knowledge. Of course they can hardly be called a proper and outstanding assessment tool (unless we are talking about proper educational games), still they allow to evaluate students’ skills and the progress they are making in learning. The Disadvantages of Using Games As a Learning Tool Educational games played using the Internet, computer or television can help children learn about spelling, math, reading and other subjects. They may also increase students’ interest in school.

But even though they’re helpful, educational games can have disadvantages, affecting students both mentally and physically. It’s best to use educational games as a supplement. Reduce time spent playing these games by having children study or play outside. * Physical Strain It’s easy for children to feel addicted to computer and online games, and they will sit in a certain spot for hours on end playing them. This long-term use can result in neck aches, back aches, repetitive strain injuries, eyestrain, headaches, fatigue and mood swings.

To avoid these physical symptoms, encourage children to take breaks from the game. Allow them to play the educational game for 30 minutes to an hour, but make sure they stay active as well, by playing outside or on a school sports team. * Mental Effects Educational games can affect children mentally. For instance, children may want to play until they win or advance in the game. According to studies done at Newman University College in Birmingham, England, this determination can cause low self-esteem or aggressive behavior, especially if children keep losing at the game.

Additionally, because these games can become so addicting, overuse can cause social isolation and poor social skills. It’s important for your child to interact with the world around him and spend time with his friends and family. * Wasted Time Educational games can also be a major time-waster, taking away from time that your child could spend studying, being active or participating in social events. Enforce rules with your child about gaming. Let him know that he needs to finish his homework or studying before playing any games, including educational games.

Set time limits for playing educational games, to prevent him from wasting time. ( Chanel Adams) (http://www. ehow. com/list_6569922_disadvantages-using-games-learning-tool. html) What evidence is there that digital games can contribute to increasing students’ motivation to learn? Theoretical basis for motivation in video games Motivation and learning Motivation is one of the key elements to learning (Keller & Kopp, 1987; Astleitner & Leutner, 2000) as it stimulates students’ interests, supports individual and collaborative learning (Dillenbourg et al. 2009), and may in some cases be a predictor of students’ success (Pajares & Graham, 1999).

Because video games support intrinsic motivation, a motivation that is believed to have an important lasting effect on learners (Habgood et al. , 2005), they have been considered and used for educational purpose. It is agreed that learning is both an emotional and cognitive process (Malone, 1982; Piaget, 1951) and that, when players are engaged in activities that are intrinsically motivating, they are more prone to demonstrate deep learning, and use this knowledge in other settings (e. g. , outside school). Playing and motivation

Well-designed video games can be ideal learning environments, as they inherently incorporate sound educational theories and concepts, and require players to learn and develop skills to succeed. Video games captivate the attention of players who experience emotions that may impact positively on the learning process (Baker et al. , 2010). Players often experience a state of flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990) where they are immersed, engaged, and willing to achieve the goals and aims of the activity, regardless of the challenges ahead, and it was demonstrated that a state of flow can have a positive impact on learning (Webster et al. 993; Kiili, 2005).

Games are engaging, fun, and they intrinsically motivate players to learn more about the game rules, its mechanics, and sometimes to learn and gather information when the game is over. Malone (1982) suggested that video games may promote engagement and intrinsic motivation, and possibly motivate to learn. Bowmann (1982), Provenzo (1991) and (Rieber 1996) also observed that game mechanisms, such as feedback cycle and intrinsic motivation, may benefit learning activities and therefore ought to be integrated into instructional settings.

Empirical Evidence Video games motivate to learn in traditional settings Video games (i. e. , commercial, educational or bespoke) have been used in a great variety of contexts, including primary education, secondary education, third-level education, and the industry. Scientific evidence has demonstrated that they can successfully increase motivation to learn academic or nonacademic topics such as mathematics (Lee et al. , 2004; Kebritchi et al. , 2010), science (Toprac, 2011; Squire et al. , 2004; Barab et al. , 2009), languages (Hainey et al. , 2011; Rankin et al. 2006; Howell & Veale, 2009), history (Squire & Barab, 2004) software engineering (Navarro & Hoek, 2007; Shaw & Dermoudy, 2005; Papastergiou, 2009), to train medical students (Roubidoux et al. , 2002), or to raise students’ awareness on sensitive topics such as the environment (Klopfer & Squire, 2008), or healthy eating (Serrano, 2004). In these studies, researchers have gathered scientific evidence that video games can motivate students to learn academic skills while they are at at school or at home (Toprac, 2011), and sometimes encourage them to complete more exercises than in traditional settings (Lee et al. 2004).

It also appears that learning benefits are increased when students have had a prior exposure to the topic, and when the game allowed them to put their knowledge into practice. Results from these studies also indicate that, in many cases, video games are perceived as an enjoyable and entertaining experience by students, and that teachers also acknowledge this positive effect. Games seem to improve students’ perseverance and confidence, and some of them have welcomed the opportunity to use Game-Based Learning on a regular basis (Shaw & Dermoudy, 2005).

Although the video games genres employed in these experiments can vary from Real Time Strategy games (RTS) to First-Person Shooters (FPS), MMORPG (Massive Multiple Online Role Playing Games), which are based on collaboration between players to solve quests and puzzles, seem to particularly support intrinsic motivation (Dickey, 2007). Video games to teach non-academic skills Although video games may not always be strictly based on the curriculum, it is agreed that they may change students’ attitude and behaviour towards a topic, and motivate them to learn more.

In some cases, games may also motivate participants to become experts in a specific topic through meta-gaming, a process through which players gain an in-depth knowledge of the game and its mechanics. Video games can be employed to raise awareness by providing an environment in which players can develop a better understanding of the mechanics (e. g. , causes and effects) of real-life phenomena; some games and related experiments cover contemporary events such as the recent Haitian earthquakes, the Palestine conflict (Buch & Egenfeldt-Nielsen, 2006), the spread of infectious deceases (Neulight et al. 2007), or the genocides in Darfur 1 . Studies conducted with such games have shown that players had an increased interest in the topic, and showed more empathy for the characters. For example, Buch & Egenfeldt-Nielsen (2006) have illustrated how Global Conflicts Palestine 2 , a commercial educational video game on the Palestine conflict, has motivated students, helped them to appreciate the conflict from different perspectives, and supported a deeper understanding of the conflict.

It is interesting to note that some game genres, such as MMORPGs, leverage learning resources and support knowledge and skills that are not always acknowledged in formal education, such as peer-to-peer support and online discussions forums (Williamson & Facer, 2004). Accounting for individual differences Empirical evidence has shown that video games were particularly effective to engage students with low selfefficacy (e. g. those who don’t believe they can perform some tasks successfully), special needs, attention deficit such as AD/HD (Attention Deficit/Hyper-Activity Disorder), autism, or Asperger syndrome (Amon & Campbell, 2008; Carr & Blanchfield, 2009; Saridaki & Mourlas 2011).

Games can be employed to motivate patients to perform rehabilitation exercises (Betker et al. , 2007), or inform (and consequently reassure) them about their condition (Kato et al. , 2008). Some researchers lso found that motivations may vary across players based on their individual differences such as gender, age, personality, and sociocultural background; as a result, personalized or customized mechanisms ought to be included in video games for successful motivational outcomes. This was the case for Marty & Carron (2011) and Virvou et al. (2005), who combined a tutoring system that adapted to users’ knowledge and behaviour with a Game-Based Learning environment. These experiments showed that adaptive mechanisms in GBL can significantly increase students’ motivation to learn.

In a similar study, Deen & Shouten (2011) have developed a gamebased system that adapts to users’ preferences or “internal regulations”, and they found that students felt less forced to learn english after they played an educational video game that satisfied their need for autonomy and relatedness. Factors that improve motivation to learn in video games As noted by Wilson et al. (2009), very few studies have managed to identify which factors affect learning outcomes in video games, and to which extent.

However, several scholars such as Wishart (1990), Oxland (2004), or Staalduinen (2011) have managed to identify some of the factors that may influence involvement and learning in video games. These aspects include control, challenge, complexity, achievable and clear goals, hidden secrets, adaptation, debriefing, conflict, fantasy, mystery, and safety. The narrative aspect of video games also plays an important role in increasing students’ involvement, as demonstrated by Waraich (2004).

Evidence has also shown that the use of multimodal interaction and multi-sensory cues may successfully engage learners, enable them to adapt the interaction to their own style, and help them to understand phenomena by providing new perspectives and quantitative representations (Salzman et al. ,1996)(PatrickFelicia,2011) (http://linked. eun. org/c/document_library/get_file? p_l_id=23126&folderId=24047&name=DLFE-756. pdf) IMPACT OF INCENTIVES ON THE USE OF FEEDBACK IN EDUCATIONAL VIDEOGAMES A key benefit of games for learning is that they can be designed to provide nstructional feedback responsive to specific student actions. Tailored hints and feedback, or supporting information accessible via general help menus, is the type of help that is often used in helpseeking studies.

However, the research on help-seeking indicates that when students reach an impasse, they either use ineffective help-seeking strategies, or avoid seeking help altogether, as reviewed by Aleven et al. (2003). To understand the relationship between help-seeking and learning, researchers have primarily studied the role of cognitive factors (e. . , self-efficacy), the nature of the provided help (e. g. , context-specific versus generalized principles), timing and frequency (e. g. , on demand or system-initiated), and how the process of help seeking can be taught explicitly. There is a noticeable gap in understanding regarding how to motivate students to effectively seek help and to use feedback. Consequently, this study focused on learning games where game play was directly integrated and linked with its corresponding academic content.

If game play is to require the use, demonstration, and evaluation of the application of knowledge or skills in a particular domain, students may need to know the criteria underlying their progress or lack thereof. Communication of a game’s scoring rules can be leveraged to make assessment criteria more explicit and transparent. This paper describes a study that examined the impact of incentives to access feedback, combined with different degrees of game explanation rules, to math achievement.

The learning platform was an educational videogame designed to teach students about fractions. The Importance of Feedback for Learning Feedback related to progress in learning tasks can generally have a positive effect on learning (Nyquist, 2003). There are certain conditions that make it effective—specifically, feedback that supports clear understanding of the learning goals or objectives (and the criteria that define good quality), methods for students’ to relate his or her performance to the goals, and a clear path or paths to achieve the goals.

Bangert-Drowns et al. , 1991; Hattie & Temperley, 2007; Kluger & DeNisi, 1996). However, the mere presence of feedback, hints, or available help is insufficient for learning. Review of the research on the use of feedback in technology-based environments indicates that students rarely access available feedback voluntarily. This is problematic as the lack of compliance with the treatment greatly reduces any potential effect on the outcomes. For example, Nelson (2007) compared different levels of feedback on student achievement in an immersive learning environment.

Results from the study indicate that most students did not access the feedback. Also, between students who were provided extensive feedback and students who were given moderate feedback, there were no statistical differences on the frequency of accessing the hints. In a study that examined the effect of providing user-initiated feedback via a pedagogical agent, Van Eck and Dempsey (2002) also reported low levels of student access to the feedback. The authors concluded that further research is essential to figure out how to promote its use.

Increasing the Use of Feedback in Technology-Based Learning Environments via Incentives Given the historic barriers, it is not surprising that students avoid seeking help. Research conducted in classroom settings, for example, suggests that some students perceive help-seeking as a public sign of failure and therefore a social stigma (Karabenick & Newman, 2006; Puustinen et al. , 2009; Ryan & Pintrich, 1997). Further, in game-based settings, accessing feedback slows the game down, and some games have speed of play as a basis of advancement.

In some technology-based environments, accessing feedback or available hints is associated with low proficiency and subsequently discouraged. For example, when a hint is given to a student in the PACT Geometry tutor, the student’s visible ?skill bar? decreases (Aleven & Koedinger, 2000). In some games, students are penalized when accessing help, (i. e. , students lose points when a hint is accessed). The design approach used in this study adopted the perspective that incentives can communicate what is valued within a given context and promote desired behavior.

Rewards and incentives are, after all, a method for signaling those actions or behaviors that are encouraged or discouraged by a particular community. Conveying these expectations is a key process through which individuals learn how to participate in learning and gaming communities (Rogoff, 1900; 2003). The use of an incentive to access feedback may be one potential approach, especially as findings from studies using tasks with initial low interest suggest that incentives may be beneficial to learning. (Cameron, 2001; Cameron & Pierce, 1994).

Moreover, in video games, incentives are intrinsically tied to performance and are often a permanent aspect of the activity. In fact, game designers argue that incentives (either in the form of rewards or punishment) are essential to the fun or sometimes the compulsion of the experience (Fullerton, 2008; Koster, 2005; Schell, 2005). At best, an incentive can reverse the association between help-seeking and a perception of failure, signaling to the student that seeking feedback is a valuable act leading to proficiency. (GirlieC. Delacruz,2012)( http://www. cse. ucla. du/products/reports/R813. pdf)

The Ultimate Museum Description: As an unwilling student, you must navigate the annoyances and inconveniences of a less than stellar museum in order to complete your class assignment. But is there more to the “Ultimate Museum” than meets the eye…? (Yes, there is. ) – Outwit museum guards! – Buy overpriced food! – Photograph artwork! – Check out the gift shop! – Fight monsters! – Take notes! – Plus more! Developed by Jonathan Estis for Museums and Society class project, Spring 2012. (http://www. textadventures. co. uk/review/513/)

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Video Games Affect the Brain. (2016, Oct 01). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/video-games-affect-the-brain/

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